February 1990 is the month and year that I turned to God through my foreman of the time at work. I don’t remember the exact day, but it was around the 7 of that month.
I knew him (my foreman) since June 1986, when I started my first day of work. Fast enough, I learned that him and his two brothers were in some kind of a sect. But I didn’t know then that they were simply Christians.
So to accept to hear about God from him that certain day of February, I had to be beaten. Beaten to the point that I was ready and willing to do anything to get out of the situation I was in.
I was 24 years old at the time, badly addicted to booze and drug. Many days I was hoping it was not showing too much at work, but that morning it was obvious to all. I was drunk.
I was about to lose my job as a result, and that’s why my foreman talked to me the way he did. Even the big boss, who was an old Jewish man, gave me a chance and didn’t fire me.
So when my foreman told me that I needed God in my life, I didn’t argue. I knew he was right. But what kind of God was he going to present to me. That was the question.
The Next Days…
The next day my foreman came at work with a tape of the testimony of his pastor. I listened to it at home after work.
When I returned the tape to him, he brought me a series of tapes of that same pastor, doing a study on the book of Revelation.
It was a revelation to me. I listened to it from beginning to end like you would watch a series you don’t want to miss on TV.
The Jesus I knew as a kid through the Catholic church and the movie of Franco Zeffirelli, suddenly took another dimension. Not only was He resurrected and gone up to heaven, but He was also going to come back one day soon to take with Him all those who are waiting for Him.
And those who would stay on earth after that day, would have to go through terrible times like never on the History of the earth. That’s some of the things I’ve learned through that Bible study.
Can you imagine the kind of speech I had at work after that…
I would have like to everyone to see what I could finally saw, but my attitude and approach were not good. I became very legalistic, serious, with barely any sense of humor left at all.
That’s what I thought a Christian should be like. I had a lot of misconceptions on the subject back then.
I was just starting with the Bible. So I didn’t know then, all I know now after studying it for almost 30 years.
I think the hardest and weirdest part for me was to go seat with my new Christian brothers sort of speak during coffee breaks, instead of going to play cards or chest with the guys at the cafeteria like I used to do.
In fact, my foreman never told me to go sit with them. I took the initiative. I guess I just thought then, that it was the logical thing to do.
I’m not saying that, it was the thing to do either. But that’s the road I took back then. I was new to the faith.
I have no idea how the other guys took it. What they were thinking or saying about me – if they were saying anything at all.
But I know one thing, my mom, when she saw I was sober as a result of all this, was encouraging me to continue to go to church. Contrary to many who would have considered me stuck inside a sect.
She saw me drunk lots of time. In fact, the last time she saw me sober I was around 15 years old. Because after that, when I turned 16, my hell and nightmare began – and theirs by the same occasion.
Now, 8 years later, at 24, she was really happy to see me sober again. But I had a long way to go…
Going to church was also a very strange feeling for me. And that church that my foreman was attending, was a big one. They had two assemblies on Sunday morning. They had Bible study assemblies on Wednesday, and their youth group was on Friday.
The first time I set foot there, I thought everybody was perfect. Everybody except me. And that impression stick with me for a long time. In fact, I never could be perfect enough in my own eyes to be worthy to go there.
I told you I was new to the faith and had a lot of misconceptions. But I also had some terrible remorse and feelings of guilt inside, that I felt I couldn’t share with no one. One of them was the fear of having committed the unforgivable sin.
I tried to approach the pastor of the youth group, who happened to be the son of the pastor of that church. But since I had recently decided to go to a church that was closer to my home, he told me to go see my pastor without even wondering what problem I had.
Do I have to tell you that I felt terribly rejected. I couldn’t understand his reaction at all. So much for Christian’s charity. I did eventually see the pastor of my new church, but I couldn’t open up much to him, so I went back as bad as I was.
So for over two years and more, I lived with that fear and those terrible guilt I had.
Existential Questions Got Answered
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into that day of february 1990 when I opened the door to my foreman at work. But one thing for sure, a lot of existential questions I had got answered as a result.
The question about heaven and hell of course, but also the question of the end of the world. Because with all the things that was happening in those years in the world, that was a subject that was preoccupying me.
How did it all begin… and where will it end! Was there a purpose, a plan for all this. Or was it just some accidental coincidences that came from nowhere and are aiming at nowhere.
During the years I had worked there, before my foreman dare to approach me, those questions came on the carpet at work a few times. And we all had our own theories on the subject.
But now, with that series on the book of Revelation, with an introduction with the first chapters of the book of Genesis, everything was starting to take shape.
Everything was staring to make sense for me. And, because it was making sense for me, the mistake I did was to think that it would make sense for the guys at work too. But it didn’t.
I think one of the biggest mistake we can make as a Christian is to think that we have all the answers. And to start to feel, because of all those revelations, that we are better than those who cannot see what we see.
That kind of spiritual pride almost brought me to my ruin. It brought me a relapse in 1992.
A Word on Spiritual Pride and Humility
it’s like Steven J. Cole in an article on Bible.org: “Spiritual pride is an insidious enemy that we all continually must guard against and fight. It was one of the main sins of the Pharisees. They thought that they were a notch above their fellow Jews“.
That’s the kind of pride I had in the beginning of my Christian life. And in August 1992 I turned back to the bottle because of it.
So today I know how dangerous that kind of attitude can be. That’s why I do all I can to guard against it. And the only remedy I know against it, it’s the kind of humility that Jesus is teaching us to have.
One episode that I am not very proud of today, that show a little how I was and how the Lord started to show me the errors of my way is when I was trying to convert my youngest brother almost hitting him in the back of the head with mu bible.
You see the image. I did that until I read a short phrase in the Psalm as if it was Jesus telling me, “Do you really think I am like you treating your brother like that?”
I stopped doing it afterward. But still, I had a lot of pride left. And like I said, it lead me to a slip back in booze and drug.
I can tell you of a few other episodes like that one that I’m not proud of. I don’t want to forget about them because it’s showing me what that kind of attitude can lead to. And I don’t want to go back to that.
I Will End With This…
Today, that brother still don’t believe in that stuff. Who knows if he ever will. But hitting him by the head with a ton of Bible passages was not going anywhere either. The only One who can convince anyone of anything is God’s Spirit.
I can only throw some seeds here and there, water them a little, but it’s not me who’s going to make them pop up and grow. It’s God. And most of the time we have more impact with our behavior and attitude than with our words.